Road builder to CM, Lapang all set to repeat stint

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Shillong, Mar 6 (UNI) From starting his career as a road labourer to becoming the Chief Minister of the state--Dr Donwa Dethwelson Lapang has redefined the politics of Meghalaya.

During a National Development Council held at New Delhi on June 27, 2005, Dr Lapang had said the major bottleneck of implementation of the development programmes is the existence of 5782 small villages scattered across the state...providing infrastructure to these villages is very high as compared to other states in the country.

His statement proved beyond point his spirit and desire to bring in development in the hilly state.

Born on April 10, 1934, Dr Lapang received his primary education in his village, Nongjri of Ri-Bhoi district. After graduating from St Anthony's College in Shillong he started his life as a road labourer.

In 1958 he married Amethyst Lynda Jomes Blah and the couple has a son and daughter.

He served as a school teacher for five years as a typist in Assam Civil Secretariat and was later promoted to Lower Division Assistant where he served for 13 years. Later he served as Sub-Inspectors of schools for ten years.

As an independent candidate, he contested the Assembly polls from Nongpoh and won the seat in 1972. In 1978, he became the Minister of State in-charge Cooperation, Jails, Education and Civil Defence. He served as a Cabinet Minister in-charge of Health and Family Welfare, Labour, Information and PR for a year between 1979-80.

During 1980-81 he also served as Minister of several departments.

In 1981, he held the portfolio of Health, Family Welfare and Municipal Administration. For four months he held the post of Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Revenue. Between 1983 and 1985, he held several posts as minister in several departments, including Home and Finance.

Dr Lapang later became Chief Minister from 1992 to 1993. From 1993 to 1995 he became the Chairman of the State Planning Board and held the post from 1993 to 1995. He was once again sworn in as Chief Minister on March 4, 2003 and resigned the post on June 15, 2006.

His party colleague J D Rymbai was sworn in as chief minister, succeeding Dr Lapang following resentment among a section of Congress legislators.

Dr Lapang was again sworn-in as Chief Minister on March 10, 2007.

Besides political positions, he held several top posts in socio-cultural and sports organisations like Meghalaya State Council of Indo-Soviet Cultural Society, All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation, State Basketball Association and Affiliated State Olympic Association.

Dr Lapang is once again set to step into the Assembly retaining his Nongpoh seat defeating UDP's Celestine Lyngdoh by 730 votes.

UNI MSJ PL KLC1643

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